I had a strange dream the other night.
I try not to take work home with me, but sometimes you can’t help it.
Years ago, when I arrived at The Spokesman-Review, I heard some political types claiming a 51st state should have been created, largely encompassing much of eastern Washington and North Idaho. They even had a name for that state – Columbia.
In my dream there wasn’t a name for this state, but for argument sake let’s call it East Washington. That seems fine with me since there’s a West Virginia.
And in one of those ‘If I were king for a day’ moments, I was the executive director of the 51st state’s high school activities association. In other words, I got to make the calls or influence the calls (wink, wink to Mike Colbrese of the WIAA and John Billetz of the IHSAA) on issues.
Now let me set some geographical boundaries for this state as I recall from my dream. The western boundary was a couple of miles on the other side of Ritzville. There was a straight line north to the Canadian border and there was a crooked line south that was just east of Connell, bypassed the Tri-Cities and was just west of Walla Walla.
The southwestern boundary included Walla Walla and there was a line that went south of Lewiston and due east toward Montana. Most of Montana’s western boundary remained as you headed north. But somewhere just north of Thompson Falls, it took a right and circled around Kalispell (where big schools Flathead and Glacier are) and then headed north to Canada.
So much of eastern Washington, all of what is considered northern Idaho and a slice of western Montana are in this state.
I established how many classifications East Washington had. Idaho and Washington each have six classifications. That’s one too many. My state had five – 4A, 3A, 2A, 1A and B. The B schools in football would play 8-man. Qualifying for state should mean something. It’s not Park and Rec T-Ball in which every participant is given a ribbon.
In 4A you’d have 17 schools (about as many schools in Idaho’s 5A division). That would include the 10 Greater Spokane League schools, Walla Walla, the four 5A Inland Empire League schools and the two Kalispell schools.
Also, the GSL schools would be divided into two five-team divisions so that they could play some nonleague games against the IEL schools.
The Great Northern and 4A IEL schools would make up 3A. In 2A, you’d have the Northeast A and Intermountain schools. The classifications containing the most schools would be 1A and B.
The state capital was located in Moscow. And many of the state tournaments would be based in Moscow and Pullman. However, I’d award the B tournament to Spokane along with state wrestling.
In this state you wouldn’t have a dump like the Tacoma Dome as a state tourney site.
We wouldn’t have all the sports that are currently offered. And this is where my dream will tick off some people. In the fall there would be football and cross country. In the winter there would be boys and girls basketball and wrestling. And in the spring there would be just track.
I’d turn volleyball, softball, soccer and baseball over to the club or summer seasons. In fact, softball and baseball could have longer summer seasons by starting in mid-May. That would be best for those sports since there’s essentially no spring around here anyway.
Suddenly I was wide awake thanks to a barking dog. My new reality was replaced by the imperfect systems we have in Washington and Idaho.
Oh, well, you can always dream.